From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below. It is an autobiography, an historical and social critique, a manifesto of Chicana identity, a theoretical and practical understanding of borders and their effect on the body and the psyche of those who populate them, and also a storytelling session. Its the legitimization of a language. As a writer who inscribes upon her body generations of pain and torture from marginalization, it represents a plunging into the depth of the soul, the place of darkness and fear from which she will discover the way to a new mestiza consciousness. This faculty, which breaks the habitual modes of seeing reality and the patterns of consciousness, she tells us, does not reside in reason but in the body.
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From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below. It is an autobiography, an historical and social critique, a manifesto of Chicana identity, a theoretical and practical understanding of borders and their effect on the body and the psyche of those who populate them, and also a storytelling session.
Its the legitimization of a language. As a writer who inscribes upon her body generations of pain and torture from marginalization, it represents a plunging into the depth of the soul, the place of darkness and fear from which she will discover the way to a new mestiza consciousness.
This faculty, which breaks the habitual modes of seeing reality and the patterns of consciousness, she tells us, does not reside in reason but in the body. La facultad is the capacity to remain open even in a state of danger.
This is the journey that the author herself undertakes for the creation of the new mestiza consciousness. She chooses the ancient Aztec goddess of life, death and rebirth, Coatlicue, as the archetype through which regeneration and change occurs. By re-inhabiting these ancient myths she at once finds her own individual space and reestablishes the genesis of her relatedness to her community.
It is an understanding of borders, from geographical ones, precisely as those that have divided and defined the US and Mexico, to cultural borders that segregate communities and individuals because of ethnicity, language, religion, gender, and sexuality.
With its annexation of Mexican territories that now represent the state of Texas, and after the US-Mexican war, the US became responsible for the separation of entire communities and families which overnight became citizens of a country with a different language and a different culture. In , Mexico closed its frontiers to the illegal settlement of US immigrants, and in General Lopez de Santa Anna centralized his government, establishing a dictatorship against which many states, including Texas, rose up against.
This signaled for Texas the beginning of the war for its independence from Mexico. Soon, cultural differences in the annexed territories marked the establishment of a hierarchy that instituted a white supremacy not only in the social and political structures, but also in cultural ones. Southwest consider the inhabitants of the borderlands transgressors, aliens — whether they possess documents or not, whether they are Chicanos, Indians or Black. Do not enter, trespassers will be raped, maimed strangled, gassed, shot.
I had to leave home so I could find myself, find my own intrinsic nature buried under the personality that had been imposed on me. She also points out that, in time, the path of education opened up the possibility of independence. This was, in part, the path she chose for herself, but not without judgment and resentment from her community.
Culture and religion seek to protect us from these two forces. Because according to Christianity and most other major religions, woman is carnal, animal, and closer to the undivine, she must be protected. Protected from herself. Woman is the stranger, the other. Following this concept of womanhood are "sanitized" versions of the mythological stories of Mexican gods and goddesses implemented by the Christian Missionaries, which were to represent the feminine.
Along with these interpretations was the confused message that came directly from the model of the mother whose creed was to be protective of the child while being submissive to men. Contrary to some psychiatric tenets, half and half are not suffering from confusion of sexual identity, or even from confusion of gender. What we are suffering from is an absolute despot duality that says we are able to be only one or the other. It claims that human nature is limited and cannot evolve into something better.
But I, like other queer people, am two in one body, both male and female. I am the embodiment of the hieros gamos: the coming together of opposite qualities within. In part, the true identity of all three has been subverted — Guadalupe to make us docile and enduring, La Chingada to make us ashamed of our Indian side, and la Llorona to make us long-suffering people. I denied their occurrences and let my inner sense atrophy. As the Earth, she opens and swallows us, plunging us into the underworld where the soul resides, allowing us to dwell in the darkness.
I change myself, I change the world. An Indian mask in an American museum is transposed into an alien aesthetic system where what is missing is the presence of power invoked through performance ritual. After the decision to become a shaman, and having declared the will to be a seer, as a shaman is often considered, the training will be completed when the aspirant has had the experience of death and resurrection. In the Sumeric epics of Gilgamesh and Inanna, we clearly see the transformation of the individual into a man and a woman for his people.
Contemporary poets Alice Notley and Diane Di Prima have been greatly influenced by the study of storytellers, poets and shamans. In her retrieval of other myths, Di Prima tries to recreate new roles for women.
For both Notley and Di Prima the intention was to return to a voice, a true personal voice, that was both deeply connected to a communal knowledge and that it is also suffered privately. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country—a border culture. That deeper understanding of reality she calls la facultad is a capacity risen from the conditions of living on the border.
The writer, as shape-changer, is a nahual, a shaman. This lifelong battle has ended, Raza. I remain who I am, multiple and oneof the herd, yet not of it.
Review of Entering Into the Serpent and How to Tame a Wild Tongue
My blogs from college writing. In her first piece, "Entering into the Serpent", Anzaldua begins by unveiling an intense memory of being attacked by a serpent in her garden. Her tale was descriptive and lead into not only her lifelong fear of serpents but also her embrace of her animalcounterpart. This first initial story reminded me so much of parts of my heritage.
Free Essays on Gloria Anzaldua Entering Into The Serpent
She currently writes and teaches in northern California. In her poetry, fiction, essays, and autobiography, she writes eloquently of the indignities a Chicana lesbian feminist overcomes as she escapes the strictures of patriarchal Chicano traditions and confronts the injustices of dominant culture. Chicana mestizaje in the late twentieth century can be seen as a new genre that describes the cultural and linguistic global connections between Chicana writers and writers of the Americas. The bilingual title of her book illustrates the transcultural experience of border dwellers and border consciousness. English and Spanish co-exist for Mexican-descent people of the borderlands. These issues culminate in what she calls a new consciousness for the women who examine and question the restrictions placed on them in the borderlands of the United States. She also provides alternative metaphors to the ones promoted by androcentric psychologists and priests.
Gloria E. Anzaldúa
May 21, at PM Living in a consumerist society can be very stressful. There is always something to do such as going to work or having to take care of the children. This type of life style lacks the time for imagination and spirituality to flourish. This concept is presented in chapter 3 of Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldua. By creating a system, this western society has established the norms of what is accepted and what is not.
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